Thursday, August 15, 2019

Summer musings from a nostalgic writer

Delaney, Dad, Audrey
Each year, autumn rolls around, and my emotions are similar: summer has ended, and a new school year is upon me. It’s a time for renewal and fresh beginnings. Often, I’m starting a new book.

This year, though, my emotions are a little different. My wife and I will drop our two eldest daughters off at colleges in Ohio, two days after you read this. They will be only twenty-six miles apart (at Kenyon College and Denison University, respectively) but a twelve-hour drive from home. One, entering her senior year, works on a document she hopes will represent her well, working on it and then working it over repeatedly (welcome to Dad’s world!). This is her resume. The other packs excitedly for her own new beginning: life as a first-year college student.

And I’m left in an emotional grey area, falling somewhere between nostalgic and even sad. Where did those twenty-one years go? What has changed as the girls grew? What has stayed the same?

As I think back –– recalling four jobs, six houses, four towns –– one constant has remained: writing. The characters have passed through, sprinting it seems from my imagination, to the computer screen, to the pages, and onto my bookshelf (or the netherworld). Series have seemingly evolved into the next. And through good times and trying times, as the girls grew into smart, strong women, and I have aged (at least a little), writing has always been there, through hundreds, no, thousands, of predawn hours and late nights. Through it all, I have learned this: if you dedicate yourself to a writing life, to putting the craft above the industry, writing will never let you down.

Delaney, 21; Dad (age unknown); and Audrey, 18
I have friends we have raised children with, wonderful people with whom our kids brought us in contact. These lifelong friendships have remained. They are in the same stage of life as I am. Yet they speak of retirement, of “next phases,” of making significant life changes. But a writer doesn’t retire. My house might eventually get smaller (on many days, a condo sounds pretty good). Yet I can’t imagine a time when I won’t write. The girls will graduate and move away. Family meals will shrink to two. But the next phase will be only a new page.

And thank God for that.


Anna said...

Congratulations to your daughters as they sail out. My granddaughter, too, is beginning her senior year at Denison.

"if you dedicate yourself to a writing life, to putting the craft above the industry, writing will never let you down."

Thank you for this: so true, and so well put.

Rick Blechta said...

Great post!

Jerome Samson said...
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